Les Moonves Settles With City Of Los Angeles Over Ex-CBS Boss’ “Misuse” Of 2017 LAPD Sexual Assault Report – Update

UPDATED, APRIL 17, 2:11 PM: Les Moonves has settled his debts with the City of Los Angeles, at least financially.

In a meeting of L.A.’s Ethics Commission on Wednesday afternoon, the body voted for a second time on a payout from the multimillionaire former CBS boss. Unlike the February 21 meeting, this time the proposed settlement passed.

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“The members of the Ethics Commission approved the stipulation and ordered Leslie Moonves to pay a fine of $15,000 to the City of Los Angeles in accordance with the terms of the stipulation,” said the order (read it here) signed off on by the commissioners.

“Moonves, who is represented in this matter by Andrew J. Levander and Hartley M.K. West of Dechert LLP, admits that he violated City law by aiding and abetting the disclosure and misuse of confidential information and by inducing a City official to misuse his position to attempt to create a private advantage for Moonves. Staff recommends settling this case by approving the stipulated order,” the paperwork noted.

Back in 2017, former LAPD captain and sometimes Moonves bodyguard Corey Palka passed to the exec’s inner circle a police report made by ex-former Lorimar-Telepictures executive Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb.

The former Moonves colleague alleged Moonves sexually assaulted her on several occasions in the 1980s. As his ultimately unsuccessful battle with Shari Redstone for control of CBS intensified, the later much accused Moonves met with Palka personally in November 2017 to discuss more on Golden-Gottlieb’s claims and how they could hurt him.

Moonves was shown the door at CBS in a board purge in 2018. Golden-Gottlieb died in 2022.

Unlike a previous turbulent hearing two months ago on an ultimately rejected Moonves settlement, Wednesday’s meeting ran pretty smooth. At the February meeting, city staff faced outrage from citizens that Moonves was only being asked to pay $11,250 for his violations.

Today, Kenneth Hardy, Director of Enforcement for the city’s Ethics department said: “We’re sending a message to the public that even if an individual is not an official, a non-city official, that aids, abets or induces a city official to violate city ethics law can themselves be held liable. Hardy’s office made the agreement with Moonves’ reps for the $15,000 settlement.

Clearly barely a spit in a bucket to Moonves, the city’s penalty is a maximum of $5,000 per count — a fee now paid in full.

PREVIOUSLY, FEB 21 PM: Los Angeles’ Ethics Commission has rejected Les Moonves’ $11,250 settlement with the city over information leaked to the once powerful CBS CEO by an LAPD officer about sexual assault allegations.

The vote against Moonves was unanimous.

The Ethics Commission also voted 4-0  to “disapprove” a $2500 settlement with ex-CBS VP Ian Metrose.  In an agreement worked out by City staff and his lawyers at the Sutton Law firm admitted “he violated City law by aiding and abetting the disclosure and misuse of confidential information.”

Earlier this month, Moonves agreed to pay his fine to LA for violating the city’s ethics code by “inducing a city official to misuse his position in order to create an advantage for Moonves.” Represented by Andrew Levander and Hartley M.K. West of Dechert LLP, Moonves sent over a cashier’s check last week.  With today’s votes, the proposed agreements are DOA and Moonves’ check will be returned. Further hearings on further fines and judgements are expected to follow.

In terms of the “advantage” the once feared CBS CEO achieved, that was insider knowledge and intel on a police report made in 2017 by Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb.

At a time of increasing corporate in-fighting for Moonves with Shari Redstone, former Lorimar-Telepictures executive Golden-Gottlieb, who passed away in mid-2022, alleged that her then colleague Moonves assaulted her repeatedly when they worked together in the 1980s with one incident in 1986 emphasized. The next year, Golden-Gottlieb would be among a number of women who would accuse Moonves of such misconduct. Despite attempts by Moonves to manipulate events and the CBS board, those accusations would lead to the exec being pushed from his long held CBS perch in September 2018.

That city official in question was ex-LAPD captain, Corey Palka.

Having served as a security guard for Moonves on a number of occasions during the former’s tenure at the top of CBS, Palka was also the commanding officer of the LAPD’s Hollywood Division in 2017. The former cop called flack Metrose and left a voicemail in late November 2017 that said in part of Golden-Gottlieb’s damning report – “it’s confidential, as you know, but call me, and I can give you some of the details and let you know what the allegation is before it goes to the media or gets out.” Metrose, who left CBS last year, went to CBS CCO Gil Schwartz, who died in 2020, who instructed him to take the info to Moonves.

After getting a copy of Golden-Gottlieb’s police report and circulating it among his top CBS lieutenants, Moonves requested a private meeting with Palka. The two met on November 25, 2017 to discuss what the LAPD would do with Golden-Gottlieb’s report and follow-up interviews. They texted several more times afterwards, continuing to discuss the Golden-Gottieb report and possible outcomes.

When Moonves exited CBS under duress almost a year later, Palka texted him: “I’m deeply sorry this happened. I will always stand with, by and pledge my allegiance to you.”

The now retired Palka is under investigation by the LAPD for his conduct, with the US Attorney’s office said to be lending a hand.

Since leaving CBS, Moonves fought for almost three years with the now Paramount Global run company for his $120 million severance. In 2021, that battle ended with Moonves, who made about around $69 million in 2016 and 2017 alone, coming up short and CBS saying they would donate the cash to charity

In 2022, New York Attorney General Letitia James first revealed that the LAPD provided confidential information to executives at CBS as they attempted to manage the allegations against Moonves. As almost always, this came out in a follow-the-money probe. CBS execs authorized Schwartz, according to the NY AG’s report, to sell “millions of dollars” of CBS stock in 2018 just before a wider range of sexual misconduct against Moonves became public in a scathing New Yorker article, Deadline, and elsewhere.

“These actions constituted insider trading and violated New York’s investor protection laws,” James said at the time. The AG also revealed a cumulative total settlement of $30.5 million with Moonves and CBS to end her office’s investigation.

For the first hour of today’s Ethics Commission meeting, suggestions of greater penalties against Moonves and Metrose, as well as the relevance of 1997’s L.A. Confidential were put forth by members of the public.

Those opinions was actually two of the more low-key public remarks.

Adopting a variety of voices, one citizen mocked the now deceased women alleging sexual assault in the Moonves matter. The same speaker also called Moonves “one of the most powerful people on the planet” and recommended the fine against Metrose be reduced to zero. Another speaker called the “corruption” from the LAPD and the city “beyond shameful” and encouraging “rape culture.” Condemning cases of sexual assault by police officers, the speaker also demanded the Ethics Commission raise the maximum $5000 fine on the “incredibly wealthy” Moonves and Metrose.

With only one or two other topics being even touched upon, the Moonves and Metrose settlements were by far the most commented on by the public today.

A reduction in the penalties because of his “cooperation” with the City was slammed over and over. One speaker castigated the Commission for a “failure” to enact charter reform that would have allowed them to raise the fines, among other things. Asking the Commission to provide “high moral examples,” one male speaker compared Moonves to Donald Trump in his treatment of women and contempt for the law.

“You do not have to respect the settlement agreement,” another speaker pleaded with the Commissioners at today’s meeting. “This is pocket change to the guys,” a female speaker added in her remarks, advocating the Commission show this use of internal LAPD intel and more “will not be tolerated.” The same speaker also noted the current situation where the LAPD are arresting and detaining anti-Scientology protesters as an example of the consideration the department is seen to give to the rich and well connected.

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